Updated 2 months, 3 weeks ago

How to make 2017 the happiest and best year of your life

Life is full of ups and downs, and constant changes. Despite, the worst in life, what keeps us going is the eternal pursuit of happiness. Finding happiness is not an easy task in the midst of the uncertainties in life and tragedies happening across the world.

Here are some tips to make this year the best one yet:

1. Reflect on the past: You don’t need to live in the past by constant replaying the mental footage of past victories and defeats, but there is great value in looking back for perspective. Understanding the past helps us find peace in present and plans for the future. Specifically, as you look back, highlight places where prayers were answered and things went well. Train your mind to see the past through a lens of gratitude.

2. Find a new activity: One of the challenges to lasting happiness lies in the fact that we adapt to the pleasant but ordinary stuff of everyday life. Combat this by trying something new. Start small: Try a new class at the gym. Take a pottery class. Cook something exotic. Or go bigger: Learn a new language. Register for a triathlon. Audition for community theater. You might uncover a latent talent or passion, make new friends, or feel more connected to your community. Don't forget the oft-cited finding that experiences, not things, are related to happiness. Take advantage of all of the rich experiences that lie just outside of your comfort zone.

3. Take a media break: If you’re feeling down from all the horrible news of 2016, you’re not alone. Research shows that constant exposure to negative news can have a detrimental impact on mental health. If the cycle is weighing down on you, try unplugging or cutting back your media consumption for a period of time.

4. Volunteer: There is ample evidence to suggest that doing prosocial behaviors, actions that are done to benefit others, brings surprising benefits to the person performing the kind acts. From random acts of kindness to spending a small amount of money on others, there is a clear mood boost that comes from doing a kindness. So find a cause you care about and get involved. Or simply offer to drive a friend to the airport or the doctor's office. Prosocial behavior is a win-win.

5. Try a new dish every week, listen to new music and shake up your routine. Travel to work a different way from your usual commute. Try a different grocery store. Shake it up in 2017 and see how your creative brain rewards you!

6. When you can't sleep because you are reliving the day at work and worrying about things you could have done or said differently, say this to yourself: "I did the best I could today. I gave what I had and that is all anyone can do. Anyone who doesn't get me, doesn't deserve me!"

7. Make a list of the twenty most daunting items on your To-Do list at home and at work. Now ask yourself about each item, "Why am I doing this?" Some of the reasons are likely to be bad reasons, like "I don't want my friend to be mad at me" or "To win brownie points at work." Simplify your life in 2017 by telling the truth!

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